The time I almost lost my wallet at Disneyland

Put a Tile in your wallet

My regular readers know that I love Lego.  I have nearly a million bricks in the Snoring Room Closet, and I even carry around a Lego Wallet everyday.  It’s a vintage style velcro wallet.  A yellow nylon with a lego print on the fabric, and it folds in thirds and then closes with a velcro strip.  It was cool in the 1980’s and now as a Dad, it is SUPER cool.  I got it as a father’s day gift from my kiddo, and I treasure it.

Obviously I keep my money and ID in it.  Some cash, a few credit cards, and some other essential items.  I take it with me everywhere I go.  One other unusual I item I keep in it is a Tile I got from a colleague about a year ago.  This isn’t a decorator tile, or ceramic tile, but a little piece of technology that kept me from loosing my wallet at the Happiest Place on Earth.

A few months ago, right before school started, we took a family trip to Disneyland for a long weekend, and to end our summer vacation.  We had a blast!  We rode all the rides (Pirates of the Caribbean is my favorite), saw all the shows – Fantasmic was awesome, and ate all the food.  It was a blast, and is something we will probably do again next year.

We happened to find ourselves in Frontierland around dinnertime, and since we were on vacation, decided to eat at the Golden Horseshoe Resort.  It’s a family friendly place with Chicken nuggets for the kid, a salad for me, and a kids meal power pack for my wife.  They all sat at a table listening to the live Dixieland music while I stood in line and ordered at the counter.

I took out my wallet, paid for the meal, and the food came literally instantly.  I picked up the tray, and took it to the table my family had saved for me.  What I didn’t take was my wallet, which I left on the counter by the register with all my money, cards, and everything else.  Totally didn’t realize it was gone.

When I did realize it was gone we had left the restaurant, and were heading up to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  The kiddo wanted something else to drink, and I reached in my pocket and had that sinking feeling in my stomach when I knew that my wallet wasn’t there.

I literally freaked out.

Right there in Frontierland.

Then I remembered that I had a Tile in the wallet.

The Tile is a little sensor (I’m not sure how to describe it).  It’s white, and about 1 inch square, and pretty thin.

What is so cool about it is if it is within 100 feet of my iPhone, I can use a special App to make the Tile make a loud sound.  If it is farther away than 100 feet then there is a little map that displays the last place the phone and tile were together.

Tile Map apptile app

I pulled out my iPhone and launched the app. Immediately it came up with a screen showing the last place the Wallet Tile was seen (I’ve since added another Tile to my Car Keys).  The map showed that my wallet wasn’t within 100 feet, but was nearby.

So using my phone, we began to walk towards the blue dot.  As we got closer and closer I realized my wallet was still inside the restaurant.

I’m sure you can feel my sense of relief when I walked into the restaurant, used the feature to ring the Tile, and faintly heard the sound coming from behind the counter near the cash registers.  One of the cast members saw it sitting there, and put it in a safe place, hoping I would come back for it, before turning it in to lost and found.  I went up to the counter and had to ask if anyone had seen my wallet.  They asked if I could describe it, and I did.  It is very distinctive, and you know.

Everything was still in there – Driver’s license, Credit cards, and even all the cash.  I offered some to the worker for keeping my wallet safe but they politely declined.

Anyway, without the Tile, I know my wallet would have been gone forever.  Our trip to Disneyland wouldn’t have been as fun, that’s for sure.  Now because of Tile, it is a great story, and something that I hope I never have to use again, but know I can if I need to.

Put a Tile in your wallet

My Garbage Disposal Smells – at least it used to

How to clean a garbage disposal

How to Clean your Garbage Disposal

Time needed: 2 minutes
Category: Kitchen
Frequency: Quarterly – or whenever your garbage disposal smells

Materials needed:

  • Baking Soda
  • Fresh Lemon
  • Ice Cubes​

The last words I want to hear right before Thanksgiving dinner is “My Garbage Disposal Stinks”  There could be lots of reasons for a smell to come from your disposal, but I have an easy and simple trick that keeps your in-sink-erator smelling clean and fresh.  This simple 3-step trick is sure to eliminate any odors coming from the bottom of your sink, and creates a fresh pleasing scent.

How to clean your garbage disposal

  1. Start by sprinkling baking soda directly into the disposal opening.  Use anywhere from 1/4 to 1 cup.

  2. Turn on the COLD water and allow it to run for about a minute.

  3. Cut a fresh lemon into quarters or wedges and toss into running disposal

  4. After the lemon is ground up, add 2-3 ice cubes, while the disposal is still running.

Do these 4 simple steps and your garbage disposal will be deodorized, and ready for use.  As always, never put your hand or anything into the disposal.  Safety First!

How to clean a garbage disposal 001205
Sprinkle baking soda in your sink to deodorize, and put in disposal. Toss a cut up lemon in to make it smell incredible!

What NOT to put in your Garbage Disposal:

I don’t like putting any chemicals into my garbage disposal.  This includes bleach or ammonia.  Even though most garbage disposal units are sealed, I never want to risk ruining any of the rubber seals or gaskets down there, as that can cause a leak, and be an expensive repair

Why does my sink smell bad?

There are lots of reasons your sink smells bad.  The most common reason is because food particles are stuck down there, not fully ground up, and they begin to decay and stink.

Choosing a white rug isn’t the end of the world

White 8x10 living room rug

It’s always a big deal around our house when we buy a new rug.  It’s even a bigger deal when we buy a white rug.   A few days ago, when we did our mini-purge in the living room, one of the things we got rid of was our old rug under the couch and ottoman.

We loved that rug.  It was grey and had a great geometric design.  But best of all, it felt great under our bare feet with its tall soft nap.  But after 5 years, 2 dogs (and a few accidents), and countless evenings with friends the old 8×10 rug had seen better days.  It was time for a new one.  But our budget wasn’t ready.  So we turned to the Home Depot to see what we could find for $300 or under.

5 white rugs under $300

  1. Evoke Ivory/Blue 8 ft. x 10 ft. Area Rug $200
  2. Elegance Linen 8 ft. x 10 ft. Area Rug $277
  3. Verginia Berber Natural/Black 7 ft. 10 in. x 10 ft. 4 in. Indoor Area Rug – $293
  4. Vennie Shaggy Natural 7 ft. 6 in. x 9 ft. 6 in. Area Rug – $260
  5. Antique Moroccan Beige 7 ft. 10 in. x 10 ft. Area Rug – $279

Ultimately we decided on #5 the Antique Moroccan due to its size and price.  Plus it was so soft and plush it didn’t need any padding to go underneath.  I just love how it brightens up the room, and make the entire place seem bigger and airier.

As for being white – I really don’t worry about that anymore.  It’s not in a high traffic area, the kiddo (or us for that matter) don’t eat in the Living room unless we have company over, and if it does get dirty, a we can quickly go over it with our Dyson cordless vac.  Plus for under $300 bucks, how can you go

Do you have a white rug?  Do you want one?  Why or why not in the comments below.

Furnishing YOUR world

Last weekend my wife and I were just hanging out on the couch – The kiddo was at a play-date, and we were browsing Instagram.  I’m not exactly sure what happened, but she asked me if I still liked this chair we got from Ikea that stands in the corner and is a home for all our extra couch pillows, throws, and blankets.

When we moved in 7 years ago, we had 1 couch, 1 bookcase, 1 TV stand, and a leather ottoman.  It was nowhere nearly enough furniture for our new living room.   We didn’t have a lot of extra money, we had just bought a house for goodness sakes, so we headed to the only place we knew to pick up a few extra pieces.

In the 7 years that passed, I think I sat in that chair exactly once.  One time is all it took.  I hated that chair.  It was funny-looking and completely uncomfortable.  But there it sat, for years in the corner, doing a good job just holding pillows off the floor.

That weekend, we decided to get rid of that chair.  Don’t worry, we didn’t toss it in a landfill, or leave it on the street to get rained on.  I put it on Craigslist and it sold quickly.  We also got rid of the bookcase, and a bunch of other furniture we didn’t love anymore.

Now, we have the same problem in our living room we had when we moved in.  It just looks empty.

But it was lunchtime.  And the kiddo was gone.  So we decided to go out to lunch together.  We headed to a nearby outdoor mall to have a bite at our favorite lunch place.  As we sat eating, there just happened to be a furniture store right next door – Arhaus.

I had heard about Arhaus before – but I wasn’t sure if my wife would like their furniture.  Of course she did – and we both love the Arhaus motto “Furnishing our world”.

We also love the fact that they are partnering with the American Forest Foundation and will plant a tree for EVERY purchase made during their storewide sale.

Arhaus Sectional CouchWhile we were in the store, we both agreed that the Pollack was pretty much the perfect sectional couch. Made in the USA, and with dozens – nay hundreds of fabric options, this square sectional fits in modern to traditional styled homes. Here are some other sectional sofas from Arhaus.

 

Arhaus MEYER 37" UPHOLSTERED CHAIR IN CHARCOALAs for their sale – they are having an upholstery sale right now where you can save up to 40%.  If you are looking for a sectional, couch, upholstered bed, or in our case a new chair like this Meyer chair, they have some great deals.

We also found a new table to go behind our couch – the Adelade console table.  We both love the double deck-edness of it, and the cool mid-century modern lines.  But while we need a new table behind our couch, we have plans to completely re-do our living room and aren’t sure this will fit in the new design.

Another thing we love about Arhaus is their dedication to responsible and sustainable production.  After some eye candy from their instagram account, check out the infographic with some handy tips about how to make YOUR home more eco friendly.

Eco friendly tips for your home

 

Real Estate Photos explained

Real Estate Zoom Lens 000812

My regular readers know that my day job is a Real Estate Agent in Austin.  Before that, I was a Biochemist in California.  But what they don’t know is that in between those two jobs, I was a wedding photographer, and I shot over 400 weddings with professional Nikon camera gear.

I know, maybe more than others, that the key to selling a house, as well as having an amazing Instagram account and house blog is to have incredible photos.

Today, I want to share a little secret that a lot of people use to make a room seem bigger.  I know there are a lot of other tricks that can be used like Photoshop, filters, and editing pictures, but this little article (with photos below) is about the camera zoom.

Zoom, or focal length is part of the lens of most cameras,

For this example I will share 5 different zooms: 12mm, 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm, & include an iPhone 6S Plus shot as well.  I’m not including a true fish-eye room shot, as I don’t have one of those lenses anymore.  Here is my exact set up.  The flash was turned off, and every photo was shot on a tripod at f8 & 1/6 se at ISO 800.

My open living and dining room is approximately 21 1/2 x 28 feet long.  I’m going to stand in one corner, and take a photo, diagonally across the room.  Every time, I’ll focus on the exact same item, and stand in exactly the same place.  I won’t change any camera settings, and I won’t do any editing or Photoshopping on the images.  I think you will be amazed by what you see.

Real Estate Lens 85mm
This shot was taken with an 85 mm lens. It feels like you are sitting on the couch watching the TV.
Real Estate Lens 50mm
Here, I used the 5omm. This is a great lens for detail shots. You can see that it includes all of the TV stand, and starts to show some of the nearby art on the wall.

 

Real Estate Lens 24 mm
For this photo, I used my favorite lens for Real Estate photography, the 24mm. To me, It shows great parts of a room, but not all the space.

 

Real Estate Lens 22 mm
Now, I’m using a zoom lens set to 22mm. It is very similar to the 24, but includes even more of the room.

 

Real Estate Lens 12mm
This is my widest angle lens – a 12 mm. You can see exactly how far away the TV is.

 

 

How to Clean a Cutting Board

Cleaning a Wooden Cutting Board

Cleaning a Cutting Board

Time needed: 5 Minutes

Materials:

Category: Kitchen

Frequency: Quarterly


I don’t know about you, but I do a lot of meal prep.  Sometimes, on Sundays I prepare enough for the entire week and put it into storage containers. If I’m not organized that week then I find myself standing over my Boos Cutting board every breakfast, lunch and dinner chopping and cutting veggies and prepping food for the next meal.

I choose to use a wooden cutting board for everything, partly because I’m a life-long vegetarian, and also because everything I’ve ever read, and all the professional chef’s I’ve talked to prefer a wooden board to keep their knives razor sharp.  I understand a plastic cutting board isn’t as porous, and prevents cross-contamination better, but since I don’t worry about bacteria from meat, I feel comfortable with my single maple cutting block.

Even so, after I chop up an especially pungent onion, or finely chop some fresh garlic, or grate a little ginger for a stir fry, the board can retain some of the flavor and smells from the previous activity.  That’s when I take a few minutes to completely clean the cutting board, and get it ready for the next item.

How to clean a cutting board

  1. Use a clean, damp towel and wipe it down
  2. Sprinkle baking soda all over the surface.  You can’t really use too much or too little.
  3. Cut a fresh lemon in half and using the cut end down, press into the baking soda and cutting board.  The lemon juice will react with the baking soda and fizz a little bit.  This is how you know it’s working.
  4. Rub all over the cutting board with the lemon.  For my size board, one of the larger ones, I need to use 4 halves or 2 whole lemons.  I use a combo of circular motions and longer side to side rubs.
  5. Clean off the lemon juice and baking soda with a slightly damp kitchen towel.  Depending on how big your board is, and how much baking soda you used, you may have to rinse the towel a few times to get it 100% clean.

Then I drop the lemon sections into the garbage disposal.  This freshens the garbage disposal, and makes the kitchen smell fresh and lemon-ey!

After cleaning, I immediately follow up with sealing my cutting board with a fresh coat of Mineral Oil to seal and protect the cutting board.  This step helps to make sure it will last a lifetime!

Note – because I have a solid wood cutting board, I NEVER submerge it in water, or put it in the dishwasher.  This would totally destroy it.  I only wipe it down with clean towels, and use this method to clean it.  It’s the way my grandma did, and her board lasted her entire lifetime!

Cleaning a Wooden Cutting Board 000801

Clean your cutting board with Lemons

Cut the lemons in half

Sprinkle baking soda or salt on board

Scrub board with lemon and baking soda

How to Oil a Cutting Board

How to Oil a Cutting Board

Oil Cutting Board

Time needed: 5 Minutes

Materials:

Category: Kitchen

Frequency: Quarterly


After my kitchen knives, my cutting board is the most used item in my kitchen. I use a large 1.5 inch thick Maple Endgrain Cutting Block for all of my prep. It is heavy enough to not move around, and I really appreciate the extra height as I’m over 6-feet tall. With smaller cutting boards they feel too low, and I feel like I’m bent over sometimes.

  1. Make sure your cutting board is clean and dry.
  2. I use a natural, food-safe mineral oil and pour it directly on the board
  3. Use a soft clean cloth to rub it in, and all over every surface.
  4. Wipe off excess, and let dry (usually overnight).

I prefer to use a non-toxic mineral oil over more expensive oils and waxes. Also, I avoid specialty oils, like Tung Oil, which may contain tree nuts  and can be a source of allergens to some.  These FDA guidelines have all the details for food safe oils.

The oil seals and penetrates the wood of the cutting board, preventing bacterial and food particles from getting in there.  The mineral oil is pretty much tasteless and odorless, and doesn’t rot or turn rancid like some other oils and products can.

For new wooden cutting boards, I like to oil them about 3 times, front and back and sides, before I use them in the kitchen.  Then I just oil them every quarter or so to keep them in tip top shape.

Mineral Oil on a cutting board

We all have to start somewhere

Let me introduce you to the snoring room closet.  Yes, each of the rooms in my house has a name.  Over time, you will be introduced to all of them, but today we are starting with the Snoring Room.  Specifically the snoring Room closet.

This is my ground zero in updating our 1978 one story Suburban Ranch house.  A secondary closet in a room that isn’t used much.  It’s a place nobody sees, except me.

In this smallish walk in closet I house my 3 hobbies – Vinyl Records, Lego Bricks, and my camera equipment.   Most of the stuff is just piled on the floor, but there are some rubbermaid drawers with my sorted bricks, as well as a shelf at the top of the closet.

 

In the long run, I have plans for all this stuff.  The records will go into the listening space (aka as the family room), the Legos will be built into the most awesome model of Disneyland that ever existed, and my camera equipment will be pared down to the most essential gear needed to keep this blog going.

The first step, obviously, is to clean out this space and organize it.

I have a plan – it’s a big one, so stick with me for a minute. When everything is said and done, I’d like this closet to store only 2 things – my Lego collection, and extra sheets, blankets, and linens.

As of right now, I’m a long way away from that.

This small walk-in closet, is only 48 x 58 inches. It’s an odd shape, longer than wider, which poses some unique problems.

First things first – cleaning out the closet.  For this first task, I’m gonna use my newly learned Konmari method.  I’ve got a big pile in one place.  Now I just go through it, pick up each item and ask if it brings me joy.  If it does – keep.  If not, sell or toss.  Simple.  The Drawers of Lego will stay, but everything else is going to find a new home, including the camera gear and the 80’s record collection.  I have plans for those things.  Big plans…

Until then, I’ll scrape the popcorn off the ceiling, paint, and install some DIY shelves, or perhaps some California Closets or Elfa System from the Container Store to get organized.  Ultimately I’ll paint the door, and replace the door hardware too so it matches the rest of the house.

My big question is this:

Should I build and install the shelves on the long wall, on the right side of the closet, or should I build them against the shorter wall that is at the back.  Obviously I’ll get more bang for my buck if they are on the long wall, but is that the best option?

Do you have a closet like this?  How about something holding you back before you really start a project?  I’d love to hear your story in the comments.

My favorite design blogs for 2018

Best Design Blogs - Image courtesy of Chris Loves Julia

Can you believe it is already November?  Last night we were out way too late with the kiddo, running from house to house collecting candy, chatting with neighbors, and enjoying all of the homes decorated for Halloween.  By the way, when did that become a thing?  Some of the houses have more lights for Halloween than they do for Christmas!

Soon we will all be sitting around the Thanksgiving Day table, and before we know it, it will be New Year’s Eve!  Did you notice I skipped a big holiday?  At this point, I don’t know if I’ll have time to get everything done, so maybe I’ll just move right past it.  Just Kidding!

I find myself spending just a tiny bit more time on Instagram and Pinterest these days – looking for inspiration, trying to find vegan Thanksgiving Recopies, and learning how I can decorate the house without making too big a mess.

Design and Lifestyle Blogs

Renovation Blogs

DIY Blogs

 

Interior Designer Blog

 

Small Space Blogs

 

If you are new to this house-design-DIY-renovation blogging world, these are some of the best and most prolific in the business.  If I were you, I’d follow each on Instagram, and add all their boards to your Pinterest Feed.

One thing I’d like to mention, though- I’m not a huge fan when they get into personal style – stuff like clothes, and image and looks.  You see, I’m a dude.  Married.  Kid, Dogs, House.  I don’t need to know about the latest pencil skirts or wedge sandals, or maternity tips if you know what I mean.

Images from: CLJ |  Reading my Tea Leaves | Sarah Sherman Samuel | Sugar & Cloth |Vintage Revival

 

Finally – who are your must visit designers Diy-ers, and Renovators?  Share them in the comments below!

Easy 3-step garage door safety checklist

When I was a kid, my friends and I used to play a game.  We would press the garage door button, and try to run out as fast as we could, racing to get under the garage door before it closed.  We had no idea how dangerous this was, and obviously this was before 1993 when new laws required safety sensors because kids were getting hurt by this exact game.

Now, all garage doors have Autoreverse sensors and other safety sensors.  They are super easy to check, and I reccomend that you test them at least twice a year.  Sign up to receive an email when it is time to check your garage door.

Following these easy to do tips will help keep your garage in the best working order, and prevent costly repairs.

If your Garage door won’t open, I’d also check these three things.  Each of them could be the problem.

  1. Autoreverse Sensor
  2. Door pressure Test
  3. Balance Test

Autoreverse Sensor

Testing your garage door sensor is very easy – takes about 30 seconds.  On either side of your garage door are little black sensors that send an invisible beam across the opening.  They should be mounted about 6-inches from the ground.

To test the garage door sensor: open your garage door take an object that is taller than the sensor (I use an old Amazon box), and place it directly in the garage door opening.  Then press the button to close the door.  It should NOT close.   My garage door flashes it’s overhead light to signal that something is in the way.  Now, remove the box, and try to close the door.  It should close with no problems.

Also, If your garage door is not closing, you may want to check the sensors, and make sure nothing is in their path blocking the invisible laser.

Door Pressure Test

To test the door pressure sensor, take a piece of wood (I use a scrap 2×4) and place it so it is UNDER the beam of the sensor.  In other words it needs to be less than 6 inches high.  With the wood in place, press the button to close the garage door.  When it touches the wood, it should automatically reverse.

Balance Test

This is the most complicated test, but also just as important as the others.  Start by pulling on the little red rope that hangs down to release the garage door from the belt or chain.  (Tip:  If you ever lose power, and need to get your garage door open, just pull this handle, and you should be able to easily lift your garage door.)  Next, using your hands, lift the garage door to chest height.  It should balance half way open.   If it doesn’t your spring may need to be re-tensioned (let the professionals do this).  If it passes the test, close the door, and push up on the lever to re-connect the door to the opener.

 

 

Buying my first Mid Century Modern Chair

I didn’t think it was possible. It’s like finding a unicorn in the wild.  I mean, I see other people getting lucky, but it never happens to me.  I read other decorating blogs like Manhattan Nest, where Daniel talks about his original Eames Lounge Chair, or how Kim scours flea markets to find and repair the perfect side chair for her living room for only $2.

Those kinds of things never happen to me – until now.

Let me rewind, and start from the beginning.

I am, like many others, and probably like you, a fan of midcentury modern furniture.  Stuff from the Mad Men age.  Things you would probably find in James Bond’s apartment.  Quality pieces made of real materials like leather, woods like Oak and Walnut, and metals like brass and chrome.  Chairs, sideboards, and tables that have stood the test of time.  Things that are essentially impossible to find, and when you do they are crazy expensive.

Just like you, I’m always looking for a good deal, and an amazing find.  I read all these blogs and generally I see a piece, and want to know more about it, I turn to Google and begin a search.  I see photos, and prices, and think I’ll never be able to afford that.  But I’m a fighter, and I never give up (but I’m still not paying full price).  So I’ve come up with a few hacks to search for furniture.  They don’t always work, but when they do, I end up with good deals on things like this Chair.

This particular chair my first one, I discovered on Craigslist – I don’t recall the exact search phase I used, but it was probably something like “wooden chair” or “mid century chair”.  You get the idea.  I had to scroll through several dozen items before I saw the listing for this one.  Past old rickety rocking chairs, cheap looking dorm room furniture, and other rif-raf.

Then I saw it.

I wasn’t looking for any specific brand of chair, just something mostly wood, with some leather, and nice lines.  It’s hard to explain, but you probably know what I’m talking about.

Across the screen was this brown and black chair.  The price was more that I wanted to pay – by a lot.  But I decided to text anyway.  I was surprised when I got a text back that said that the chair was still available, and that the guy could meet in a couple of days for me to take a look.  While I waited for the time to pass, I began my research.

According to the description it was a Marble Imperial Chair.  This was a company that had it’s origins in in 1885 by Barzilla L. Marble (age 12 at the time) who worked as a furniture maker in Bedford Ohio.  In the 1960’s his company merged with Dictaphone and became the Marble Imperial Furniture Company.  They continued to make furniture until 1985.

He texted me back and we set up a time to meet.  Then the day came, but unfortunately I had a conflict come up ( a client who wanted to see a house) so I had to cancel.  The seller told me that he was going to be passing through in my area in a couple of weeks and for me to check back.  I later found out that he was a long haul trucker, and was carrying around this chair for some time in the back of his truck.  This made me worried that it was going to get beat up as he was driving around, but I had to deal with that issue myself.

A week or so later I texted him back, and he said it was still available, but now it was half as much.  I guess he got tired of hauling it around so he lowered the price!  I asked if he was nearby, but he said he wasn’t.  But would be in Austin on Monday.

Monday came, and then my phone buzzed asking if I was available.  We decided to meet at a truck stop off I-35 – kind of shady I know, but I really wanted to see this chair, and now the price was a steal!  So I drove to the truck stop and met the seller.

I knew immediately that this was the real deal.  The chair had original black leather.  The walnut frame was in good shape – not loose, and no major flaws or imperfections.  There were even three original tags on the bottom of the seat as well as some chalk markings.  It was in near perfect condition.  So I haded the trucker the cash, and took the chair home.

I was the proud owner of a Marble Imperial Mid Century modern chair.  My very first piece of furniture that wasn’t from Ikea, or a hand me down from my parents, or something I made in the garage woodshop.  It’s the start of my collection.

Since bringing the chair home I did some more interneting, and found out about the Bedford Historical society, and even a place where I can send in photos and get more infomation about Marble Imperial Chairs – you can bet I did that today.

How did you find your first amazing piece of furniture?  Do you collect Mid century modern chairs?  I want to know!

I need a new Handheld Power Drill

I need a new handheld cordless drill.  My last one was a gift I got over 20 years ago – a Chanukkah present from my Dad.  A blue 9v Makita that was part of a kit that included a drill, a flashlight, a saw, a charger, and 2 batteries in a nice carrying case.  Of course I don’t have any photos because it was long before digital cameras, and way before this blog started.

That drill served me well, through our first apartment in Menlo Park, to our move to Austin, and eventually into our first house.  I’ve used it to replace electrical outlets, create furniture from scratch, assemble IKEA bookshelves and cabinets, and so much more.  I reach for that tool more than any other.  It has been reliable, and hard working.  Never letting me down.  Until now.

I’ve been slow to admit it, but – I’ve known that the drill has been dying.  The battery isn’t holding a charge as long as it used to, and the drill itself just doesn’t have the same power as it once used to.  But for sentimental reasons, I haven’t done anything.   Once I thought about just replacing the battery.  That way I’d keep the drill, with all it’s memories.  But , it’s only 9.6v though, and at 20 years old the technology isn’t really cutting edge anymore. Plus, new batteries are going for as much as $72 on Amazon, so for just a bit more I can get a new drill, that should last me another 20 years.

But which one should I get?

It seems like every house blogger has a different favorite:

John and Sherry seem to like a Black and Decker model that’s no longer available.

A Milwaukee drill is featured in in many of Yellow Brick Home’s Photos.

Chris Loves Julia promoted a 20V Dewalt in one of their holiday gift guides.

With so many choices, what is a DIY guy on a budget to choose?  I shop like a man.  I  do minimal research on-line and then just walk into a store (or hit the one-click-order button) and be done.  I want to know that I’m getting not only a hard working handleld drill, but also a good deal.  Something at least as good as the last cordless drill.

After a quick internet search, I’ve narrowed down the choices to the following 6.  I’ve got a short list of features I want.  For this drill I’m not really looking for a system.  Just a hard working tool that won’t crap out on me in 6 months.

  • Good balance
  • Fast Charging
  • Long battery life
  • Keyless chuck
  • Drill & screw mode
  • Rugged and Tough

So I’ve narrowed down my choices to these that all cost around $100 bucks. (links to Amazon products)

Which one should I go with?  Do you have a favorite?  What features do you find most important?  HELP!